A federal judge has overturned a verdict requiring Apple to pay $625.6 million in damages to VirnetX for infringement of four patents, Reuters reports. This is the second time a judge has thrown out a huge judgment won by VirnetX against Apple. In 2014 an appeals court overturned a $368 million judgment over the uses of VirnetX patents in FaceTime technology, contending that Apple did infringe on the patents, but that the damages hadn’t been calculated properly. A second trial concluding this year put Apple on the hook for $625.6 million, but the most recent court decision contends that jurors may have been confused by repeated references to the earlier trial. “The repeated references to the prior jury verdict in the consolidated case resulted in an unfair trial,” U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder wrote. Schroeder has ordered that both cases be retried separately, with the first slated to begin on Sept. 26.
After Apple’s $1 billion investment in May, Chinese ride-sharing service Didi Chuxing has announced plans to buy Uber’s operations in China, Bloomberg reports. The deal will see Didi absorb Uber’s brand, business operations and stored data in the country, with Uber receiving a 20-percent stake in the combined company. Didi founder Cheng Wei and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick will also join each other’s boards.
After last week’s video showing a Lightning-to-3.5mm headphone adapter, new footage appears to show a new set of Apple EarPods with a Lightning connector. Like pictures leaked earlier this month, the new EarPods in the video feature an in-line remote that allows users to control music playback and volume. A report from last week cited supply chain sources who said Apple would be including a Lightning adapter with the iPhone 7 rather than Lightning-equipped EarPods, but the narrator of this latest video seems convinced the new EarPods will ship with the latest iPhone. [via Apple Insider]
Apple CEO Tim Cook will be hosting a fundraiser next month with Hillary Clinton, Buzzfeed reports. Cook will be joined by Lisa Jackson, Apple’s VP of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives, to help raise money for the Hillary Victory Fund, which is a joint fundraising committee for the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and 38 state parties. Notably, Cook is hosting the event as a private citizen rather than as a representative of Apple, as the company does not have a political action committee or donate to either party’s candidates. Last month, Cook also hosted a fundraiser for Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, although Apple itself declined to provide support to the Republican party’s national convention protest to Donald Trump’s inflammatory comments. The Cook-Clinton fundraiser will take place on Aug. 24.
Apple has a redesigned version of its Apple Store app in the works that will feature personalized recommendations, according to a new report by Bloomberg. The updated app, expected to roll out within the new two weeks, will likely include a “For You” section that features suggested products based on a user’s prior purchasing history. While the report incorrectly indicates that there are separate Apple Store apps for the iPhone and iPad that will be merged in the new version, it is possible that Apple may be taking steps to provide a more unified interface design in the app on both the iPad and iPhone.
A new report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reveals that Apple may be scaling back on its ambitions to build an actual car, shifting its strategy to focus on the development of an autonomous driving system. The report notes that Apple has not entirely abandoned efforts to design its own vehicle, and may in fact even partner with or acquire an established car maker rather than building a car on its own, but those familiar with the project say that the recent hire of Dan Dodge — the head of BlackBerry’s automotive software division — is an indicator that an emphasis on the self-driving technology has increased.
A new report in the Wall Street Journal provides some insight as to why Apple’s efforts to launch a web-based streaming service may have failed to gain much traction last year. Clearly drawing on information gleaned from sources from within the television industry, the report describes Apple’s typically “assertive” negotiating style as having alienated networks and cable providers, suggesting that the tactics used by Steve Jobs to “muscle music labels into selling songs online for 99 cents apiece” may have backfired on the company in working with television media companies. Executives are said to be concerned that if they agree to “Apple’s sweetheart terms” it would set a precedent for traditional cable distributors to demand a similar arrangement, cutting into their bottom lines.
A new video posted today on Vietnamese site tinhte.vn (via 9to5Mac) demonstrates what appears to be an official Apple Lightning to 3.5mm headphone adapter that will likely ship with the new iPhone coming this fall. The adapter, which features a design reminiscent of Apple’s previous Lightning accessory adapters, appears to be between 2.5” and 3” in length and includes a male Lightning connector on one end and a female 3.5mm headphone jack on the other. The post accompanying the video claims the adapter was picked up from a Foxconn Apple supplier factory in Vietnam, and that the adapter only works with devices running iOS 10 beta, not iOS 9; when used with a current iPhone model — one that actually has a headphone jack — audio is sent to the Lightning port rather than the built-in headphone jack.
Following up on his earlier leak suggesting that the next-generation iPhone will go on sale on Sept 16, Evan Blass has sent out a another tweet adding that iPhone pre-orders will begin on Sept. 9, and suggesting that readers can extrapolate the launch event date from there — likely to be Wednesday, Sept. 7, based on Apple’s prior event dates and the shorter Labor Day week.
Confirmed: Pre-orders start on the 9th. You can extrapolate the launch event date from there. https://t.co/gwoPzIM1dI— Evan Blass (@evleaks) July 28, 2016
A Sept. 9 pre-order date with a Sept. 16 release date would be in line with most prior iPhone launches — Since the iPhone 4s release in October 2011, Apple has traditionally opened pre-orders one week prior to retail availability, although it’s worth noting that last year’s iPhone 6s launch had a two-week lead time for pre-orders.
Apple today announced that it has now officially sold one billion iPhones. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the news earlier today at an employee meeting in Cupertino, stating that “iPhone has become one of the most important, world-changing and successful products in history. It’s become more than a constant companion. iPhone is truly an essential part of our daily life and enables much of what we do throughout the day,” said Cook. “Last week we passed another major milestone when we sold the billionth iPhone. We never set out to make the most, but we’ve always set out to make the best products that make a difference. Thank you to everyone at Apple for helping change the world every day.”
Apple crossed the threshold of “one billion active devices” earlier this year, announced at the company’s Q1 2016 Financial Results Conference Call in January, although this earlier number presumably included non-iPhone devices such as iPads and iPods, and was limited to active devices; today’s number refers to the total number of iPhones sold by Apple to date, and presumably includes those that have been retired from active use.
Parkopedia announced today that it will be providing information on available parking to Apple Maps. The new capability will give Apple Maps users information about parking garages and lots in 75 countries across North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America, with the option to click through to Parkopedia’s website and iOS app to make reservations or see detailed information like pricing, user reviews and real-time space availability. Apple hasn’t made a formal announcement about the arrangement, and as of this writing we haven’t been able to find any added functionality for information about local parking options, so it’s unclear at this point whether this will be functionality that Parkopedia and Apple will be working together to build into the core Maps experience, or Parkopedia announcing plans to take advantage of the new third-party Maps extensions capabilities coming in iOS 10.
Update: We reached out to Parkopedia for clarification, and they clarified that this is in fact a back-end partnership with Apple to integrate Parkopeida into the core Apple Maps app. A spokesperson indicated that Apple has been slowly integrating the functionality into Apple Maps since March, but today’s announcement represents a worldwide rollout with full functionality taking place now. Searching for parking in Apple Maps should begin showing Parkopedia content across parking lot icons which will appear on Apple Maps and include data such as location, payment type, number of spaces, and more. Apple Maps users will also be able to book parking spaces by clicking on a booking link, and in the future will be able to search for lots by price to find the cheapest lots.
Microsoft has released its own third-party iOS app intended to replace Apple’s own Camera app with a simpler-to-use interface that’s more reliant on artificial intelligence. Microsoft Pix takes all control out of the user’s hands, automatically seeking out faces, tweaking settings on certain areas of photos, stabilizing videos and creating short, looped video clips when it detects motion in a photo. The app captures a burst of frames with every shutter click, then selects the three “best” shots and deletes the rest, favoring automation over total control. The app also allows users to see the difference before and after it applied all of its automatic improvements, but notably doesn’t provide an option to save the pre-altered photo. Microsoft Pix is available for free on the App Store.
Adobe has created a new version of its Lightroom app for Apple TV, with abilities limited to viewing photos edited and saved in the corresponding iOS and desktop apps. Whereas those versions are geared toward editing, the Apple TV version includes a simplified interface that only supports browsing through collections. Photos and their applied edits saved on the Creative Cloud can be synced automatically for viewing on the bigger screen. The download is free on the tvOS app store, but won’t work without the $10 a month Creative Cloud subscription.
Australia’s three largest banks have lodged an application with anti-trust regulators, requesting approval to negotiate with Apple on installing their own electronic payment apps on iPhones, Reuters reports. Apple currently doesn’t allow third-party payment apps to be loaded onto the iPhone, ostensibly because they would compete with its own Apple Pay system. Australian banks have notoriously resisted signing deals to use Apple Pay and want iPhone users to be able to use the electronic wallet applications that they’ve already privately financed and developed. Both Apple and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission declined to comment on the application.
The new iPhone 7 may do away with the standard home button in favor of a touch-sensitive 3D Touch home button, Macotakara reports. The speculation echoes a report from last week that the new device will use haptic feedback to mimic a click rather than relying on an actual button press. Unnamed supply chain sources said the improved home button is flush with the body and will not actually depress when pushed, even though users will feel the sensation of pressing on a button. Doing away with the physical home button may aid in Apple rumored efforts to make its iPhones more waterproof, but if recent leaks are any indication, it won’t drastically change the look of the phone. [via MacRumors]
Apple is turning James Corden’s popular “Carpool Karaoke” segment into its own series, set to air as an Apple Music exclusive, The Hollywood Reporter reports. The series will expand on the current format, with celebrity guests singing along to their favorite songs and surprising fans during the ride, but will likely feature a host other than Corden. The 16-episode series will be released weekly on Apple Music, but no premiere date has been announced.
Kicking off Apple’s investor conference call following the company’s announcement of quarterly numbers for Q3 2016, Apple CEO Tim Cook reported that while the earnings numbers are slightly down from last year’s quarter, the results reflect stronger customer demand and business performance than Apple anticipated 90 days ago, and that there are several encouraging signs. Cook noted that revenue was near the high-end of Apple’s guidance range for the quarter, and gross margin was actually at the top of the guidance range. The global launch of the iPhone SE in this quarter was very successful, and Cook noted that demand for the new iPhone outstripped supply for most of the quarter, with additional capacity required to achieve balance as Apple enters the next quarter. Cook referred to initial sales data revealing that the iPhone SE has been very popular in developed and emerging networks, and that the percentage of iPhone SE sales going to customers who are new to the iPhone is greater than Apple has seen in several years. Apple had millions of first-time smartphone buyers in the June quarter, and Cook reported that switchers from other smartphone platforms accounted for the highest iPhone sales numbers Apple has ever measured.
Speaking about Apple’s services business, Cook stated that they saw strong increases in Apple Music, iCloud, and AppleCare, with a growth of 19 percent to a record $6 billion in services revenue, up almost $4 billion year-over-year to $21.3 billion in total. Cook explained that services revenue is expected to be the size of a Fortune 100 company by itself by next year, and it continued to be fueled by Apple’s active installed base of devices, making it clear that Apple is continuing to provide services with the goal of gaining ongoing revenue from existing iPhone users rather than relying on year-over-year hardware upgrades and purchases. Cook also highlighted the release of the 9.7” iPad Pro, noting that half of iPad Pro purchase are being bought for work purposes, and touched on the Apple Watch continuing to be the best selling smartwatch, ranking highest in customer satisfaction. Citing the recent launch of Apple Pay in Switzerland, France, and Hong Kong, Cook explained that Apple Pay adoption outside of the U.S. has been “explosive,” with half of Apple Pay transaction value coming from non-U.S. markets.
Apple reported its third quarter 2016 financial results today, with 40.4 million iPhones and 10 million iPads sold. The company posted quarterly revenue of $42.4 billion and quarterly net income of $7.8 billion, or $1.42 per diluted share. In Q3 2015, Apple had revenue of $49.6 billion and net income of $10.7 billion, or $1.85 per diluted share. Gross margin was 38 percent compared to 39.7 percent a year ago. International sales contributed to 63 percent of this quarter’s revenue. For Q4 2016, Apple is providing guidance of revenue between $45.4 billion and $47.5 billion, and gross margin between 37.5 percent and 38 percent. Apple’s earnings call will begin at 5 p.m. Eastern time, and can be heard live on the company’s investor website.
Researchers have discovered a number of flaws in the Osram Lightify lighting system that could leave a user’s WiFi network open to attack, ZDNet reports. In an email advisory, security firm Rapid7 said one of the worst flaws allows an attacker to “take control of a product” to launch browser-based attacks against a user or identify the home wireless network’s password. Where a home network’s password is as strong as the homeowner chooses to make it, the Osram bulbs use short, eight-character codes that can be easily cracked within a matter of minutes. Deral Heiland, principal security consultant at Rapid7, said Osram has indicated that it plans to fix most of the flaws his firm uncovered in the next round of patches, but it’s unclear if those fixes will fully resolve the security problems.
Chicago police have arrested six people in connection with “an organized criminal enterprise” using stolen credit cards at various Apple stores, the Chicago Tribune reports. The suspects were using identities and credit card numbers stolen from victims throughout the country to make fraudulent purchases, police said. The suspects, all of whom were from New York state, would fly into O’Hare International Airport, rent a car and visit local Apple stores to buy merchandise. Police successfully recovered more than $10,000 in stolen Apple products from the suspects, who were all charged with multiple felonies.